On a mild November weekend in 1872, a spark in a downtown basement eventually reduced Boston's commercial center to 65 acres of rubble. But the damage, including the loss of life, have been much worse. DAMRELL'S FIRE traces the extraordinary life of John S. Damrell, the courageous fire chief who directed the defense that saved the city's densely populated neighborhoods. He would forever change firefighting history by shifting the nation's focus from saving not only property, but lives. Concerned with the water supply, lack of fire equipment and delayed response times, Damrell advocated long-term improvements in construction practices and the establishment of inspection services with the authority to enforce fire and building codes. DAMRELL'S FIRE includes a virtual model of 1872 Boston, turn-of-the-century archival films, rare full-color lithographs, evocative original music and trenchant interviews with historians and firefighters.